The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians announced Thursday it was committing more than $9 million to support the California Indian Nations College. The educational effort aims to become the first stand-alone, fully accredited tribal college in California in decades, according to a statement issued by the tribe.
Thursday's announcement from the tribal chairman, Darrell Mike, said the primary mission is to build a solid foundation for new generations and that this donation is aligned with that vision.
“We believe that education is the foundation for success in life," Mike said, adding "CINC offers a springboard for Native and non-Native students pursuing opportunities that can be best achieved with a college degree and the knowledge that comes with it."
The donation represents the largest funding pledge to CINC since it was established nearly five years ago, according to a tribal statement. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians says it's already donated $3.75 million to the project and has now committed to spending $1.9 million annually over the next three years. The total donation is $9.45 million.
Mike said he hopes that other regional tribes with students enrolled in tribal colleges will step up to match this pledge.
CINC was established with a vision to provide two-year accredited Associate of Arts degrees. A statement from the tribe says the college prepares graduates for careers and further educational opportunities at colleges and universities nationwide.
"Through well-rounded coursework that incorporates indigenous culture, Native language revitalization, and the re-institutionalization of traditional Native American values, CINC seeks to educate students in such areas as business and hospitality administration, American Indian studies, film, communications, philosophy, and sociology, among more than 20 learning tracts," the statement said.
A statement from the tribe says the College received its initial seed money early in 2018 after being chartered by the tribe in September of 2017.
The funding allowed the college to quickly build a staff and capacity. The College taught its first classes in the fall of 2018 in cooperation with UC Riverside Extension. An instructional partnership was also formed with the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, to allow for all California Indian Nations College classes to be fully transferable.
The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians are Chemeheuvi people whose traditional lands include parts of California, Utah, Arizona, and Southern Nevada. In 1867, a group of Chemehuevi settled at the Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians are their descendants. Today, the Tribe’s lands consist of two Reservations, which are located near the town of Twentynine Palms and the City of Coachella.
For more information on the California Indian Nations College, visit www.cincollege.org.
For more information about the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, its culture, heritage, and traditions, visit www.29palmstribe.org.